11 Healthy Living Tips

Hi Friends!

Today I wanted to share an article with you guys that I wrote for Food and Nutrition Magazine, the magazine of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics! I shared the link yesterday so some of you may have read it, but I wanted to share a jazzed up version of it (with pictures) here as well because it covers all of my most common recommendations and tips that I give to anyone trying to live a healthier lifestyle!

Healthy living doesn't have to be complicated. Here are 11 Healthy Living Tips from a Registered Dietitian that you can start practicing today!

Although I don’t think that there’s a one-size-fits-all diet, I do think there are some general principles that everyone should practice when it comes to healthy living.

Here they are:


1) Eat Enough Calories
Everyone’s calorie needs are different, and it’s important to not go overboard, but not eating enough sends your body into starvation mode and also makes it harder to lose weight. Figure out how many calories YOUR body needs and strive to eat that amount daily by creating balanced meals and choosing healthy snacks.


2) Practice Moderation
Allow yourself to eat the things you really want every once and a while. It’s perfectly fine to enjoy things like ice cream, cookies or a latte with whipped cream. Just don’t make it an every day occurrence. I may be an RD, but I love a big bowl of froyo topped with oreos and m&ms every once and a while!


3) Eat Breakfast
Skipping breakfast does nothing but lead to low blood sugar, moodiness and overeating later. Just remember that you aren’t limited to “traditional” breakfast foods. If you like leftover chicken and rice for breakfast, go for it! If you’re an oatmeal fan, more power to you! Focus on putting together a breakfast with complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats. It will increase your metabolism, energy and focus.


4) Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods are almost always packed with sodium, sugar, artificial ingredients and other things your body doesn’t need. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats like avocado and nut butter. Experiment in the kitchen and learn to make your own versions of your favorite processed foods like granola bars, crackers, etc.


5) Drink Water
Remember that the calories in your drinks count towards your total calories for the day! Choose water most of the time and remember that if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Take a water bottle with you everywhere to remind you to drink more often. And use additions like berries, mint or lemon to flavor your water if you don’t like it plain.


6) Eat More Vegetables
Make an effort to increase your vegetable intake every day, especially the non-starchy kind. Also try to eat a variety of different vegetables and colors so that you get all the different nutrients they offer.


7) Cook More at Home
When you do the cooking, you control the ingredients. Cook extra for dinner and pack the leftovers for lunch. If you do eat out, be smart about it. Watch your portion sizes, save half for later, order extra veggies instead of starches, and ask for things like dressings and sauces on the side.


8) Buy Local and Choose Organic (When Possible and Practical)
Shop your local farmer’s market. You’ll often find fruits and vegetables that were picked that very day and haven’t lost their nutrients while traveling or sitting on a shelf. Know the “dirty dozen” (foods that have the most pesticide residue) and focus on buying organic versions of those fruits and vegetables as well as possibly dairy and meat products.


9) Be Aware of What You’re Eating
Learn proper portion sizes and take the time to learn about the quality of the foods you’re eating and where they come from. Pay attention to how often you’re eating and make sure you’re not doing so out of boredom.


10) Be Physically Active
Physical activity can help control your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as your weight. It can also help improve your brain function, concentration and sleep quality. Whether it’s running, crossfit, basketball or walking the dog…get yourself up and moving every day!


11) Sleep Enough
Aim for eight hours every night. To help meet this goal, power down and disconnect from your electronics at least one hour before bedtime and focus on more calming activities like meditation, reading or journaling. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to eat poorly — so make an effort to get enough sleep each night.

If you’re looking to improve your health, these 11 simple ideas are a great place to start! Don’t overwhelm yourself  by trying to tackle them all at once. Instead, choose a few to work on immediately and slowly add more as they turn into healthy habits.

Let’s chat:
What are some other healthy living tips you would add to this list?!


About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. Great ones! Exercise is HUGE for me – I’ve noticed I am a completely different (and much better) sleeper if I’ve worked out earlier in the day.
    elle | nutritionella recently posted..lentil sweet potato & baby spinach stew

  2. These are great tips!! I know that I need to pay attention to #11 more…like, a lot more. Exercise is huge and I realized over the last couple of years the importance of eating enough calories too and to refuel your body at the right time with the right kind of food.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..The Brighter Side with Friends

  3. I think # 7 is so important! I realize it is difficult after working all day (boy do I!), but cooking at home is a big step toward eating healthier.

    And I should definitely pay attention to #11. My downfall.
    Debbie @ Live from La Quinta recently posted..Peachy Quinoa Salad with Beyond Meat. Review & Vegan Recipe

  4. Congrats on the article! WIll it be in print or just on-line?
    Jane | Not Plain So Jane recently posted..10 Tips to Survive Your First Group Fitness Class

  5. This is a great article! And congrats for getting it published! I’m so happy I discovered your blog. I want to be a nutritionist or dietician in the future so you are a real inspiration to me :) I do all of these tips already except for the sleep one. I definitely do not get enough sleep…..
    Maggie @ Sunnyside Up Smile recently posted..Self-Love and Better Banana Bread Recipe

  6. This is exactly where I was going with my “No Shit” Diet post! It doesn’t have to be a complicated thing to eat right!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Positive Thoughts and Perfect Sea Scallops

  7. Great tips! #9 is something I need to try and focus on! Something I would add would be ‘Don’t work through lunch!’ I’m guilty of staying at my desk and working right through my half hour lunch break. This means I pick at foods and become all stiff from sitting down all day. I’m trying to bring in healthy lunches that I can eat whilst on the move and head out for a little walk to stretch my legs over my break.
    Mary recently posted..Wedding-healthy

  8. I think I’m calorie-phobic! If I’m going to come up short on one of your tips it’s eating enough calories. When I notice a change in the way I feel and not for the better it’s almost always due to not eating enough.
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..Running a Team Event. Not An Individual Race.

  9. Great list! I would add educate those you eat with about being healthy, that way you have a team of healthy eaters, not just you against the world!
    Emma @ a mom runs this town recently posted..Running Personality Quiz

  10. sleep, eat enough GOOD stuff -YES! Hydrate- YES! stress less would be another i would add. good stuff linz!
    lindsay recently posted..Naked Goodness: Berry Basil Lemon Vinaigrette

  11. Awesome article girl! It’s like a run-down of everything we counsel people on. It’s hard to achieve sometimes, but it’s the perfect formula! you’re the RD bomb! :)
    Carissa recently posted..Garmin Grief

  12. huge congrats!!!
    and sleep sleep sleep is tremendous here too.
    when that is “off” all is off…
    MIZMIZ recently posted..It’s COOP day!

  13. this goes along very well with number two, but don’t deprive! I find that when I try and eliminate something completely from my diet (say dessert) it ends up back firing on me. And then find an exercise you truly love and then you won’t feel like it’s a chore every time you do it.
    Sophie @ life’s philosophie recently posted..Rabbinical Self-Starter

  14. I try so hard to live by this list, especially lately Ive been trying to drink more water, and have less sugary sweets, like only a couple per week instead of one per day lol. I think its important to get plenty of protien in the diet also if your working out a lot!
    sara @ fitcupcaker recently posted..Protein Nuttzo Balls, The Fab 50, And A Laughing Cow Summer Essentials Package!

  15. Ugh, I wish I got 8 hours of sleep every night. This is always a goal of mine!!
    Heather recently posted..Deep Thoughts – Good Friends

  16. Yes, great tips! Especially including sleeping more and being aware of what you are eating… pieces we don’t always think about as affecting our health.
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..How to determine the best foods for you- part 2

  17. Some really good tips – especially on eating enough calories and ditching the processed. I also think listening to your body and knowing when you need more carbs or proteins for the activities you’re about to do – and refueling.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..The (Running) Heat is On

  18. Great post! If my sleep is off (mainly because of baby), then working out starts to suffer and leads into other points (like wanting to just eat chocolate covered almonds instead of making a smoothie haha)
    char eats greens recently posted..thursday things: motivation edition

  19. LOVE these tips! I definitely agree with all of them especially #6. I would even go as far to say plan your meals around your veggies & always aim for more than one vegetable serving at every meal.
    Maureen recently posted..Back to Weight Loss

  20. LOVE how you break these down into the biggies. Really makes it seem more doable and simplifies the whole healthy living thing. I think too many people make it too complicated on themselves and then can’t stick with it. PS – adore that eat ENOUGH is number one. It’s about quality and enough of it.
    Tina @ Best Body Fitness recently posted..Vacay Play By Play

  21. These are great tips! When I first started living more healthy, I was SHOCKED at how much I was overeating because of huge portion sizes!
    Ali recently posted..Marathon Playlist Ideas – June

  22. Great list Lindsay!
    Ashley @ Coffee Cake and Cardio recently posted..Take Your Vitamins

  23. All of these are fantastic tips! I think #1 and #2 in particular are very important–some people (even me, at the beginning!) go into a “healthy living = low calorie or no junk food” mode, which ultimately just comes back to hurt us.
    Beth @ Mangoes and Miles recently posted..WIAW #5: I take a stab at the whole cooking thing

  24. yup, yup, yup!!! great list!
    Amanda @runtothefinish recently posted..Running Weekend Clinic – Efficiency and Form Training

  25. Any suggestions/tips for someone who was at a good weight and exercising like crazy but was diagnosed with hypothyroidism to full extreme. It has taken over a year to get meds leveled but still dealing with the symptoms – sleeplessness, muscle cramps, weight gain etc… Any foods/diets to avoid or to eat to help with side effects?

  26. Great tips! I do a lot of these very same things too. I think limiting processed foods and being aware of what you eat are 2 of the biggest ones for me.
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted..Things I’m Loving Lately

  27. Great summary. :)

  28. Such sound, simple advice! I wish our culture could get how easy it really can be…no magic, no pills, just straightforward simple guidelines.
    misszippy recently posted..Pearl Izumi wants to outfit you head to toe

  29. Thanks for sharing!! Jazzed up version is a great idea. I think #9 is more important in your article because maximum people are avoiding all these things in our healthy life.

  30. I track everything I eat in MFP. My friends make fun of me, but it works! I eat about 5-6 small meals a day so I’m eating throughout the day. I strive to eat every 2 hours. I also make sure at every meal, half my plate is vegetables. Lastly, I eat slowly so I know when I’m full :)

  31. Great trips–especially the breakfast one (infact–what is that breakfast that you have in the picture–it looks delish!)
    Elena recently posted..Off the Beaten Path: Kayaking in Virginia Beach

  32. Love these! Totally agree with all of them. Breakfast is key. I’ve found that any of my clients that try to ignore their hunger earlier in the day to “be good” just end up overdoing it later when they let themselves get to hungry. Honor your hunger, just make smart choices!
    Anne recently posted..Summer Artichoke & Pesto Pasta Salad

  33. Absolutely love this post! Great tips everyone can use and apply to their own lifestyle!
    Morganne @ Nut Butter Runner recently posted..Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

  34. This is such a great list. I agree with them all :) I would add: “be good to yourself”. It is so important to remember the emotional aspect of living healthfully. Don’t tell yourself “that was bad” or “I was bad.” We often engage in negative self talk without even realizing it. Step back for a moment and be good to yourself.
    Amy recently posted..My Journey to a Healthy Life [1]

  35. Love this!

  36. All AWESOME tips! I’d also add take your vitamins! 😉
    Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries recently posted..Berry Cheesecake Protein Smoothie

  37. Nice tips Linds! The foundation for living our best lives.
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Happy National Running Day

  38. I love this list!! There’s no magic bullet to being healthy, you just have to make a habit out of all these things- being active, everything in moderation, plenty of rest, water, etc. It’s so nice to be reminded of these simple things! :)
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted..Top 8 Signs You’re Already Addicted to Candy Crush

  39. I think one of the hardest things for people to grasp when trying to lose weight is that you can eat TOO MANY calories and not see progress but you can also eat TOO FEW and not see progress either! There is a happy medium. When I was losing 100 pounds, I strived to eat 1500 calories a day but it was usually more like 1800.
    Lisa recently posted..Increasing Fitness

  40. The tip that has done wonderful things for me is to eat 5-6 meals a day. Without the 2-3 additional snacks, I used to be so hungry at lunch and dinner that I would often overeat at those meals. Now, I tend to eat less during my three main meals because I’m not as hungry from my snacks.

  41. What a great post! Sleep is so important. I’ve noticed that when I don’t sleep enough everything else for my day is thrown off.
    Amanda recently posted..and then she was dizzy…

  42. Great post Lindsay! Thanks for sharing :)
    Casey @ Salted Plates recently posted..Summer CSA 2

  43. This is exactly the advice I give all my clients! Only, it’s not so neatly laid out and simply expressed like this post, lol!!
    Carly @ Fine Fit Day recently posted..How am I so late to the Oatmeal in a Jar party??

  44. Perfect list!!

  45. Love these! Agree with all, especially sleep. I don’t think we get enough sleep in the US, but our health really depends on it! Also, not just sleep, but rest. Taking a moment to breathe, rest, and refocus your day is super important!
    Kasey Shuler @ Well of Health recently posted..Maui in Pictures

  46. I recently started going to bed earlier and I have noticed a lot more energy. Also I have lost more weight too. I think by having more energy I have been more active, I have even added a couple more workouts in this week. Great tips, Thanks :)
    Tanya recently posted..Three Key Characteristics of a Smart Social Media Policy

  47. Kristen says:

    My addition is “walk whenever possible.” Take the stairs instead of the escalator/ elevator. Walk, instead of drive, if possible. Just park the car, don’t drive around looking for the closest spot. Just incorporate walking into daily life.

  48. Great list! I’ve realized that the biggest thing for me is getting enough protein. I don’t tend to overeat as much and I’m full longer–leading to much better food choices :)
    Renee @ Renee Runs Miles recently posted..Would You Rather

  49. Good, easy tips!

  50. agree with all of these tips! great post!

  51. Great tips! It seems so “simple” yet I know so many people who miss the boat on so many of these.

    I would add – Treat your body — get a massage, see a chiropractor or do something that relaxes and comforts you every so often. Your body is your temple and you need to treat it right inside AND out!
    Michelle recently posted..E and Me – {One Month Postpartum}

  52. I love ALL of these! One that I would add: take a mental health day on occasion to just clear away the “to do” list and RELAX!! I love pedicures and massages on these days :).
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted..WIAW: June 12, 2013…and Tuesday, June 11, 2013!

  53. I LOVE this list! We all need little reminders to be healthy sometimes :) I’d add in the importance of listening to your body – like you said, it is important to know your energy fuel needs but it is also okay to enjoy an ice cream cone if you are really craving one!
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted..{Chocolate-Covered} Strawberry Smoothie

  54. Love these tips and love your approach in general to eating and exercise. I think it is easy to forget things like everything in moderation and not to always deny yourself entirely but not to treat yourself all the time :)
    Jan @ Sprouts n Squats recently posted..Things I’m pinning lately

  55. Thank you for these tips! Your very inspirational and I love the newsletters you send out. I’m going to be starting school for dietitian/nutritionist and hope to come out as knowledgeable as you. Thank you!

  56. YES!!!!!!!!!! I made some mistakes when I was young like not enough calories & not enough healthy fats & not treating myself. I learned the lesson! I love this & so right on!!!!!
    Jody – Fit at 55 recently posted..When NO Means YES – I AM ENOUGH! #IWILL; Plus Entertainment Women Dish on the Pressure!

  57. Love this, Lindsay! I pretty much follow all of these on a daily basis, but if I could add one more, it would definitely be practicing good stress management. No matter how well you treat your body, you still won’t be as healthy as you could be if you’re constantly stressed out, so doing things to lower stress is definitely a priority for me.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted... thinking out loud #35 .

  58. Brittany says:

    Lindsay, I love this post and wholeheartedly agree with everything you said! Thanks for being such a great spokesperson for health & fitness :)

  59. I love this post because it presents easy tips for healthy living that everyone should follow. I love the reminder to eat a more balanced breakfast with lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats. Thank you for sharing!

  60. Cooking more at home instead of going out to eat so often has been SO good for my health, my family’s health, and our wallets, too! I’ve been inspired by your Sunday Food Prep series. I’ve also started incorporating more homemade smoothies into my diet as an easy & delicious way to get more fruits & veggies into my body daily.
    Dallas recently posted..dairy-free butternut squash quinoa mock risotto

  61. I don’t know if someone has mentioned this yet, but for anyone who doesn’t enjoy cooking (like myself), my favorite tip for #7 is to batch cook!!! Make enough on the weekends to last a couple weeks, then freeze what you won’t eat that week. After a couple weeks, your freezer will be stocked and you can make fewer dishes each weekend. Batch cooking is beautiful because you only have to do it once a week!
    Ashleigh recently posted..ThTh: Commitment

  62. These are all the best tips although I have to say the one about sleep evades me right now. Soon I hope. :) Great list!
    katie recently posted..Mommy and Me: 8 Week Update

  63. Such great tips for living a healthy lifestyle! Especially the point about eating real food versus processed (most of the time anyway). I find that when you go to the store and buy actual food, like chicken, fish, vegetables, rice maybe, it’s so much easier to eat healthy! Buying packaged foods more often can lead to a slippery slope.
    Meghan @ After the Ivy League recently posted..Living With a Boy: 80% Excited, 20% Terrified

  64. Wow, I couldn’t have said this better myself. Agree wholeheartedly!

  65. I couldn’t have written this better myself. I love it! Thanks for writing.

  66. LOVE these tips and I absolutely agree that everyone can and should apply them!
    Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..10 Ways to make this a Healthy Weekend

  67. Hi! I love your website and its really helped me to eat more clean. I’m finding the addition of all of the beans and lentils to my diet is throwing my stomach into a tailspin. Any suggestions? I’ve tried beano, just wondering if my stomach will ever get used to eating this way?

    • did you ease into it? suddenly adding so much fiber can be hard. maybe cut back until it doesn’t bother you as much and then slowly add until you find your threshold. You could also look into sprouting beans and lentils. it makes them easier to digest!

  68. Great tips! Daily exercise and SLEEP are key for me; when I’m exhausted, I crave carbs and all kinds of sweets. I have a 3-month-old at home, so sleep doesn’t happen as much as it used to, but I do what I can! Breastfeeding has made me crave carbs extra bad these days, but I’m trying to stick to moderation :s
    Amy @ {Life to the Full} recently posted..Ten Running Questions

  69. Hi I have another question for you. I’ve been reading a lot about
    saturated fats (healthy grass fed beef, grass fed butter, coconut oils) and
    how you should consume 40-50% of your calories from these fats! Seems
    crazy to me. Gary Taubes research is one source. ARe you familiar with
    this and if so what do you think about it?

    • i know there’s a lot of research out there right now. I don’t think there’s enough long-term research about the effects of such a high sat fat diet. Personally, I advise people to focus more on fats like avocado, nuts, olive oil, etc. I think coconut oil is fine, in moderation, like everything else.

  70. You just reminded me that it is 11:30am and I need to eat breakfast. #Facepalm

    Simple tips – yet we always need to be reminded. Thank you for this!
    Shana Bull (formally known as Shana Ray) recently posted..instagram video.

  71. I enjoyed reading this blog post. Even though this information is very basic, it’s a good reminder, and sometimes that’s just what we need. This post really goes to show you that being healthy is really simple. Thanks for sharing these tips! :)
    God bless you always!

    Mariah recently posted..Running Late – But Not Out of Time!

  72. Cooking and eating at home is a game changer! I can control what I’m making, how it’s prepared, the quality and amount. By doing this one thing, you touch on several of your other tips. Great post!
    Brynn recently posted..Roasted Moroccan Spice Chicken

  73. Love this! You break it down and it seems so simple. Honestly, I think the hardest thing for me out of all of this is drinking enough water. I love water but I can never seem to drink enough as I need to!


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  2. […] No more. Seriously… These excuses are lame and I am sick of not feeling good as a result. This morning I was reading a blog post from the Lean Green Bean (the food blogger who created Foodie Pen Pals) called “11 Healthy Living Tips.” […]

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